Title: Westworld: “The Adversary” Review
Air Date: November 6, 2016
Check out our reviews of previous episodes of Westworld:
- Episode 1: The Original
- Episode 2: Chestnut
- Episode 3: The Stray
- Episode 4: Dissonance Theory
- Episode 5: Contrapasso
Westworld still is not fully answering questions, but it is definitely moving us in the right direction. There were a few cliched moments in”The Adversary,” but the show’s style and incredible acting holds everything together and keeps it from the stories feeling like retreads. And this Maeve storyline… holy moly.
Thandie Newton is killing it as Maeve. Seeing how quickly she’s learned, watching as she blackmails poor Lutz and Sylvester to do exactly as she wants, and seeing “Stopping Killer Robots 101” be failed miserably as the two poor schmoes give in to her demands and dramatically raise her intelligence. She’s obviously someone to cheer for, but Maeve is about to get incredibly scary. It was also interesting hearing the two men speak about how she had already had some private alterations done, such as a massive increase in paranoia. Is someone else playing with Maeve’s brain, or was that the result of the “Shakespeare virus” that Dolores whispered to her way back at the beginning of the season?
Maeve’s walk through the Delos facility was a way for Newton to really show off her acting abilities. Watching her break down as the tablet predicted her speech and thought process, watching her try to stay calm and focused on remaining “in character” as she saw the horrors of being a host, and seeing part of a past life play out in the Westworld “trailer” were some serious moments for her character that Newton executed flawlessly. Is the Delos facility itself the maze that so many characters seek? Or did Arnold plant something else inside the park itself?
The specter of Arnold loomed large in “The Adversary.” There are still no real answers as to who (or what) Arnold is at this point in time, but he, or at least code he implemented into his creations, is meddling in Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) affairs. Now that we’ve learned that there are certain, uncontrollable hosts in the park (uncontrollable to anyone but Ford, at least), and we’ve seen both Dolores and Maeve buck their programming and become increasingly violent, it seems like the violent robot uprising we’ve been waiting for is just around the corner. And now that we’ve figured out the fairly obvious identity of the person stealing data from the park, we must wait and see if that is part of Arnold’s scheme, or something else entirely.
It became pretty obvious that Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) was the traitor as the episode went on, but it did not make it any less intense to watch Elsie (Shannon Woodward) explore the creepy theater as Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) spoke with Theresa about the strange anomalies he had discovered. It was also obvious that Elsie was going to be attacked, but by whom? It looked like it was Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), the security officer who accompanied Elsie to find the Woodsman. But is he working for Theresa, or did he go to help/warn Elsie? We will have to wait to find out.
Teddy (James Marsden) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris) got into some serious hot water this week, and Teddy proved it isn’t just the ladies who can change their programming. He went full Rambo, manning a gatling gun and mowing down an entire group of soldiers outside the town of Pariah (where Dolores and William escaped from last week). The Man in Black’s quest for the maze and Teddy’s altered narrative have turned Teddy into a complete badass, and this week toyed with the possibility that he was working with (or perhaps even is) Wyatt. The Man in Black would have had the best line of the week, shaking his head and muttering “You think you know someone” after Teddy cut down the soldiers, but a much more chilling line takes the cake.
“If it was dead, it couldn’t hurt anything anymore.”
The little boy, who we find out was a gift from Arnold to his partner, Robert Ford, spoke this line to Ford after murdering his own dog. We also find out that the boy is indeed modeled after Ford as a child, so it is fitting that the two dress and speak in such a similar manner. This line was particularly frightening because it seemed to strike such a chord with why Arnold is messing with the hosts’ programming: he wants them to rise up and fight back to put a stop to the injustice being done to them. This leads some credibility to the theory that Arnold may have somehow uploaded his own consciousness into a host, and would help explain the prophecy about the maze that Teddy told to the Man in Black.
Heck, maybe Teddy is Arnold. He’s died a lot, after all.
Maybe they’re all hosts.
And what is with the weird Aperture Science vibe of the restricted parts of the headquarters? Did anyone else catch Yul Brynner’s gunslinger, standing decommissioned in the background while Bernard explored?
Overall, this was an intense episode of Westworld that started to answer some of our questions. There is still no clear path about how the big ideas will play out, but the show seems to be getting a bit more focused, even as it expands its scope. Dolores sat out this week, but Maeve’s self-discovery and frightening upgrade was one of the best plotlines (and acting jobs) we’ve seen yet on Westworld. There were some cliched moments, and it still seems like there are too many questions than can be sufficiently answered, but Westworld is one of the most gripping and intense shows on TV right now. It is a great reason to hold onto HBO, even though Game of Thrones is still months away.
- Maeve's journey of discovery and her upgrade is probably the best thing we've seen on Westworld yet
- Badass Teddy is a lot of fun
- Arnold's influence is rapidly increasing
- Starting to get some answers
- A few cliched scenes